Roy Williams' tumor was benign

Updated: September 25, 2012, 5:06 PM ET
By Robbi Pickeral | ESPN.com

The tumor removed from North Carolina coach Roy Williams' right kidney is benign, the school announced Tuesday.

The Hall of Fame coach will have a biopsy on the tumor on his left kidney next week. If it is found to be the same type of tumor -- a non-cancerous oncocytoma -- a second surgery would not be needed.

"We are pleased with how well Coach Williams is doing," Dr. Eric Wallen, a professor of urology at UNC who led the surgical team, said in a prepared statement. "If everything continues to progress as expected, he should be back to his normal activities soon."

An analysis of the tumor removed via a 3½-hour surgery last Wednesday showed it to be an oncocytoma, which is a benign tumor of the kidney that is often indistinguishable from kidney cancer on X-rays, according to the news release. Unlike cancerous tumors, oncocytomas do not spread.

The school said after the surgery last week that Williams is expected to be back on the court when UNC opens preseason practice next month. Wallen said then that he expects Williams "to coach this season and for years to come." If Williams does undergo a second surgery after next week's biopsy, he could miss some practice time, but likely not any games.

A team spokesman said Tuesday that Williams has not been cleared to travel, but he has been in the office to say hello to the players and staff.

Williams, 62, is set to begin his 10th season with the Tar Heels, whom he has coached to two national titles. He has experienced a few medical issues -- vertigo, shoulder surgery, back spasms -- during his tenure in Chapel Hill, but he never has missed a game.

"I want to express how overwhelmed I have been by the outpouring of support, concern and good wishes by everyone, especially members of the Carolina Basketball family," Williams said in a prepared statement. "I've just been blown away by the calls, cards, prayers and well-wishes from people all around the world in and out of the basketball community. My family and I are thankful to all that have expressed your concerns.

"I also want to thank the entire medical team and staff at UNC Health Care. The treatment and care were exceptional. My family and I also deeply appreciate the support shown to us. As someone who spends every day stressing the value and importance of a team, I can confidently say that UNC Health Care has an extraordinary team. I can't thank them enough."

Williams checked out of the hospital the day after his surgery last week.

"There is still work to be done," he said. "But we will continue to deal with that over the next few weeks and get through it with the help of first-rate medical care and the continued support of my family and our extended family and friends through Carolina Basketball."

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